I discovered this book from two different sources. First, it formed a major part of a review of the service user literature by Retta Andresen and her colleagues in Australia. Second, it was recommended by Dr Glenn Roberts in an e-interview in the Psychiatric Bulletin. I decided I had to buy it.
The book comprises 21 accounts of living with mental illness, including an account by the editor, Julie Liebrich. Participants "suffer" with the whole range of mental disorders from anxiety to psychosis. Their humanity stands out. The stories contained in the book are inspirational. An additonal feature is that the book is beautifully produced with plenty of photographs, many in colour and is beautifully illustrated. Glenn Roberts described it as the most influential book he's ever read. I now know why.
The editor talks about how mental illness can lead to discovery, about aspects of the self that individuals were perhaps not aware of before they became mentally ill. The current Zeitgeist in mental health services is Recovery, but for many this may be unrealistic. Discovery is an interesting alternative.
Having read thousands of books on mental illness and psychology over a 30 year period, I have to say that this book really is a gift. I certainly intend to make a "gift" of it to many people I work with and know.